By Andrew Kaczynski and Em Steck, CNN
North Carolina Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson, the current Republican favorite to be the party’s nominee for governor in 2024, has a long history of remarks viciously mocking and attacking teenage survivors of the 2018 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, for their advocacy for gun control measures.
In posts after the shooting, Robinson called the students “spoiled, angry, know it all CHILDREN,” “spoiled little bastards,” and “media prosti-tots.”
Robinson, whose political rise as a conservative Internet personality started when a clip of him speaking at a city council meeting in April 2018 went viral, as he was speaking against a proposal to cancel a local gun show after the Parkland shooting. He also began attacking the Parkland survivors after they launched the “March for Our Lives” movement that called for new gun control measures, comparing the students to communists.
Robinson’s comments about the school shooting survivors were frequently personal, mocking their appearance and intelligence. In one post on Facebook, Robinson shared a photo of several students posing for photos, with the caption, “the look you get when you let the devil give you a ride on a river of blood to ’15 minutes of Fameville.'”
In another comment on Twitter in April of 2018, Robinson shared several crying laughing emojis in response to a post that blasted conservatives who mocked the survivors, writing that when children “got sassy,” adults needed to make sure the “CHILDREN knew their place.”
Robinson did not respond to CNN’s request for comment.
On Saturday, Robinson tweeted a statement that did not address his rhetoric and attacked the media. He went on to say “it’s high time we secure our schools and protect our students and school faculty. No parent should have to worry about whether or not their child will come home.”
As Robinson became known for his fierce defense of gun rights, he was frequently featured in videos and promoted by the National Rifle Association. Robinson leveraged his often viral and unapologetic Facebook posts to win his party’s nomination for the state’s lieutenant governorship in 2020, winning the race to become the state’s first Black lieutenant governor.
Though the position is largely considered a ceremonial role — and the state has a Democratic governor because the jobs are elected separately — Robinson has now set his sights on the top job. Roy Cooper, the current Democratic governor, is term-limited, and Robinson would likely face Josh Stein, the state’s attorney general, a Democrat finishing out his second term.
CNN’s KFile examined his mostly unreported remarks, as the candidate is coming under renewed scrutiny in his bid for the governor’s mansion. Robinson, who frequently posted in defense of law enforcement, often attacked left wing protesters, going so far as defending the shooting of students at Kent State protesting the Vietnam War in May 1970, commonly known as the “Kent State Massacre.”
Robinson said such a response deserved to be emulated today.
“The shooting that happened at Kent State now, I don’t know how much you know about that shooting at Kent State, but people have got to understand it,” Robinson said on one podcast in 2018. “We have the constitutional right to peacefully assemble. Now peacefully assemble does not mean you could throw bricks at National Guardsmen, bust out windows and block traffic. Once you cross that line into violence and the disruption of public transportation and public services and start blocking the entrances of a federal building, you are no longer a protester.”
“You are are now a criminal and you need to be dealt with like a criminal,” he continued. “And we need some politicians in office in some of these cities that’s gonna let people know from the get-go, you go in the street and block traffic, if you block buildings, if you destroy property, you are going to be dealt with swiftly and harshly. We are not going to tolerate it. That is exactly the message that needs to go out to these people. You wanna apply for a permit to protest at the park, that’s fine, but it’s gonna be peaceful and you’re not going to bother anybody, and you’re not going to destroy anything. If you do, you will be dealt with harshly and swiftly.”
Though there were violent clashes between local police and protesters in the days leading up to the shooting, the Nixon administration-established President’s Commission on Campus Unrest said that the shooting was unjustified, writing in a 1970 report, “Even if the guardsmen faced danger, it was not a danger that called for lethal force. The 61 shots by 28 guardsmen certainly cannot be justified.”
Robinson was also frequently critical of the “March for Our Lives” rally itself, calling it, “a march of pawns in Washington today” and mocked attendees.
One photo shared by Robinson mocked an attendee at the “March for Our Lives” rally in Washington, DC, saying the college-aged student needed to “put that sign down and go read a book dummy” and “They live. They breathe. They’ll procreate. #funnybutscary.”
His harshest rhetoric was saved for then-18-year-old Parkland activist David Hogg, calling the student a “commie stooge,” in a post that also mocked 18-year-old Parkland student X Gonzáles as “that bald chick,” referring to the pair as “stupid kids.”
In another post on Facebook, less than two weeks after the shooting in 2018, Robinson shared the laughing crying emoji with a photoshopped chyron on a picture of Hogg on MSNBC with the title “Media Hogg,” and a day later shared a crude photoshop of the student’s face on body of Boss Hogg from “The Dukes of Hazzard” calling the student “just as corrupt as the TV character.”
This story was published on Thursday, May 4 and later updated with a statement from Robinson.
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